A unique blend of bluegrass and classical choral music and lively Appalachian storytelling will be presented on October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at Second Presbyterian Church of Knoxville, 2829 Kingston Pike.
The University of Tennessee Chamber Choir and the choirs of First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge and Second Presbyterian Church of Knoxville will perform the choral music. The event is free and open to the public, but an offering will be taken to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank, which serves both Anderson and Knox counties, a press release said.
“Come Away to the Skies: A High Lonesome Mass,” composed by Tim Sharp and Wes Ramsay, will be the main musical feature, the press release said. It combines the classical structure of the mass with bluegrass and mountain music performed by guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and voice.
Born and raised in eastern Kentucky, Sharp drew on his religious and cultural roots in creating this musical work, the press release said. He will conduct the combined choirs himself while playing the banjo.
“The audience will recognize some good old Appalachian hymn tunes and shape-note singing underlying the various sections of the piece, which is built on the ancient portions of the Mass, such as ‘Kyrie’ and ‘Credo,'” the press release said.
Various other Appalachian hymns and storytelling by Master of Ceremonies Charles Maynard, formerly director of Friends of the Smokies and director for advancement for the International Storytelling Center in Jonesborough, will round out the program.
Sharp, formerly on the music faculty at Rhodes College, Memphis, and currently executive director of the American Choral Directors Association, has performed and directed this piece all over the globe, including in London, England, and Dublin, Ireland, the press release said.
Its performance at Carnegie Hall in 2017 garnered rave reviews, with one critic calling it “a dynamic, crowd-pleasing performance.” The Knoxville performance was organized by Anna Thomas, music director at First Presbyterian Church of Oak Ridge.
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